ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Kumar Rocker will spend a few more days around the Texas Rangers before going to Arizona, where the third overall draft pick is expected to make his organizational debut in the fall instructional league.
“Getting through this process is the starting line,” Rocker said when formally introduced by the Rangers on Thursday, more than a week after signing a contract with a $5.2 million bonus. “So, pitching out there, getting free and being myself, it’s a great step in the right direction.”
Hours after Rocker’s introduction at the stadium, two of the the Rangers’ former No. 1 picks made their major league debuts.
Left-hander Cole Ragans, Texas’ top pick in 2016, was the starting pitcher for the series opener against the Chicago White Sox. Since being selected, Ragans has had Tommy John surgery twice. Bubba Thompson, selected by the Rangers in the first round in 2017, was called up from Triple-A, and was in the lineup batting ninth and playing left field. Thompson was hitting .303 with 13 homers, 48 RBIs and 49 stolen bases in 80 games at Round Rock.
It was the first time since 1986 that two former first-round picks drafted by the same club made their MLB debuts in the same game. First baseman Will Clark and second baseman Robby Thompson debuted together for the San Francisco Giants at Houston on April 8, 1986.
Rocker, a right-handed pitcher, was drafted again last month one year after the New York Mets had concerns over a physical and didn’t sign the 10th overall pick. He was the only first-round pick in the 2021 draft that went unsigned and after an August deadline, Rocker’s agent, Scott Boras, said Rocker had a “non-pitching-related minor surgery” on his right arm.
Boras still didn’t get into the specifics of that procedure Thursday, but said it…